GT the guitarman is a Nigerian singer and producer. In this interview with KINGFEMII he explains what he has been up to lately that has kept him away for a while, what he feels about the current state of the music industry and his fear for the industry.
My names are Akingbogun Olaolu Gbemiro Tokunbo a.k.a GT the guitarman and over the years I’ve had so many nicknames. I was called BONY STRUCTURE, MALLAM GBAMIRO when I was in secondary school, when I started doing music, as a singer I was called GT DA GUITARMAN, when I started producing and mixing they started calling me FREAK, someone gave me FAROUK MOSES cos she felt I know my right from wrong… so many people have called me so many crazy names.
Family structure, what you do and how it all started?
Family structure…. I’m the second born out of 3 children. I’m the first boy also. I was born in UK, raised in Mile 2. I studied Economics in LASU. Primary school was community primary school; secondary school was Mayflower secondary school Ikenne Ogun state and Amuwo Odofin high school mile 2 respectively. I’m a musician and I also do a whole lot of stuff basically mostly revolves around Music. I produce, I act, I mix, I master, I sing, I’m a guitarist, I’m a band leader. It’s about what don’t I do sometimes (laughs). And how did it all start? Professionally it all started in 2005 when I was pasting posters for a particular Valentine’s Day show and I was lucky to meet people like Omobaba no 1 who started helping me…. Took me to a number of shows and gradually I started making money off music…. A bit peanut tho, that same 2005 I met Darey who introduced me to Storm. I was signed to Storm Records for 5 years and I eventually released an album called THE TRUTH which had songs like DREAMER; which was critically acclaimed, TRULY, I DON’T WANNA with Naeto-C, WETIN YOU SAY with Sauce Kid and a couple of other great songs. I left Storm records and I started my company called Ember entertainment and so far so good we’re working on the album called BAKED which is going to be out pretty soon. The album is complete but then we’re just trying to raise the right buzz to make sure that people are aware that the album is ready. We’ve shot two videos for EJIKA and SAVE ME respectively. Basically that’s what I’ve been doing.
Is there anything rather than what you are doing now that you would rather do?
I don’t think there’s anything that I would have done. I’m really not that kind of person that would shy away from whatever thing I’m feeling. If I want to be the president of this country and I strongly believe that I can fit that position. I won’t hold myself back, I will work towards it and I would get there. I’ve always wanted to own my record label, have a studio where I can produce up-coming artists. I’ve always loved a situation where I could express myself with so much freedom and that is what I’m doing. I so much love what I’m doing and where I am right now.
3 people you admire (your mentors)
The people I admire are people who have guts. People who would look into the face of adversity and come out strong… People who would walk through fire and won’t get burnt. People like Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Tai Solarin and Michael Jackson…. There are so many people that I admire.
Happiest and saddest Moments
I think the happiest moment has to be when I started Ember entertainment, I think the sad point never really stops. Cos I’m in an industry where by I look at everything and it saddens my heart every day to wake up to the thought of “Oh… upcoming artists are going to look at it like how music is done is for them to become ambassadors for other people’s products (telecommunication companies), in future, you’ll ask a little boy why do you want to become a musician, and he’ll be like I want to be a musician so I can become an ambassador (bla bla bla) I think those stuffs are called models. How did we become models and we abandon our core business which is record sales. You know a situation whereby music now has been commercialised and when I say commercialised I mean the fact that we now use so many crazy means to market our songs; you know marketing Is like really aggressive these days. You want to trend on twitter, you can pay for it, want to get your song on radio, you can pay for it, want to get your song on TV you can pay for it. I mean before it used to be about talent but now it’s about do you have money.
I’m a kind of person that I don’t regret any decision I’ve made in the past. I stick by it; I don’t really feel bad over anything. I believe life is a journey, it’s not a destination. If I make a decision, I can always change and make the right decision later. It’s not a do or die affair now (laughs). You know if I’m going left and I see that this left is bad, I simply turn and move right.
What have you been up to lately?
I’ve been doing so many stuffs, I’ve been producing for other people, I’ve been basically in the studio working and meeting people who can partner with Ember entertainment to take it to the next level. I’ve been trying to make connections with these people… all these money bags (Laughs)
Biggest influence on your life
I think the biggest influence on my life would be the fact that I was raised by a single parent, not having a father figure to look up to growing up shaped me to become a man that I am. Early in life I had to quickly become a man. I think that shaped me into who I am today, I made all my mistakes while I was growing up and I’m better for it.
What’s your vision of a perfect society?
The type of society where the downtrodden, the poor basically can have the same opportunity as the rich. They can aspire, dream, fly, prosper and without restriction, that for me is missing in Nigeria. Nigeria only caters for the upper class and abandons the lower-class who are the ordinary men.
What’s the greatest lie you’ve ever told?
I think the greatest lie I’ve ever told is….. I won’t tell you…. The fact that I’m not going to tell you is a lie (laughs) The greatest lie I’ve ever told is…. I can’t remember. See there’s no great lie, a lie is a lie (laughs)…. I think sometimes I act like I’m my manager when people call me and they always fall for it.
What do you do in your spare time?
Basically, I don’t have a spare time, it’s either I’m working, answering some interviews, or I’m in the studio basically that’s my life. I’m always in the studio working.
Politics is just a crazy game we play to deceive people, to cheat people. Nigerian politics hasn’t really catered for the lower class like I said earlier. You know it’s just a game.
Magic formula for success
God, Hardwork and Hardwork!!!
#TeamCOKE or #TeamPEPS?
I mix my vodka with Coke (laughs)
For up-coming acts; you definitely can do it if you believe in yourself. If you are into this for the money, you won’t go far, trust in God and keep working hard you definitely will get there…. And Advice for Nigerian Youths, guys fight for your right! Stand up! These guys are old we need to stand up. PEACE.